Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ngóh haih Méihgwok

Mark the Guest blogger

Two weeks in Hong Kong, one week in Taiwan, lots of people, food everywhere and yet no General Taos Chicken to be found. You would think when in Hong Kong/China, I could eat General Taos Chicken every night. How can I pick up the phone in the states and have it there in 15 minutes and yet not find it on every corner here. I realize that it is the comfort things we miss and the comfort things that make us feel safe.  
And I find comfort in many things here in Hong Kong. The first morning we woke up, the first place we ate was at McDonalds, although we have not eaten there since.  It was a comfort to find the 24 hour breakfast place called the “The Flying Pan” which is equivalent to Denny’s. How happy were we to find this place of comfort. It is not Bob Evans but we seem to feel a little piece of home here in Hong Kong every time we eat our eggs/omelet.  Many other opportunities have given us comfort in the names such as Shakes and Buns, Outback Steak House, Dan Ryan’s Steakhouse, two huge malls, the AMC Theater, the international grocery chain “Great Groceries” and Delaney’s(an Irish restaurant) which is right in the middle of Hong Kong. Yes it is these little pieces of comfort that have made our first three weeks unbelievable.
And yet we know we are in a foreign country everywhere we visit. The language, the short people and many of them all make it interesting. I can look down four train cars over the people even though they are packed shoulder to shoulder to my chest in the train car. Just so you know there must be a rule that the majority of expat males must be over 6' 4". We could start a great expat basketball team and dominate.
 The movie theaters are great as each theater only seats about 50 people with first class airline seating which you pick your assigned seat when you buy your ticket.  We have seen two movies and they have Chinese subtitles, but the previews show some great Chinese movies which have English subtitles which both of us are anxious to attend.  By the way, I fell asleep during the viewing of Inception, which means I was dreaming during a dream inside of a dream inside of a dream, making the plot even more complex. However, for as good as it is to watch a movie here, the popcorn is not good.  I miss the popcorn, one of our most important comfort foods for both of us.  How soon will our popcorn maker arrive after its journey across the ocean?
One of the best bits of comfort we have found is our American TV stations. How grateful we both are that my brother and his family have allowed us to position our sling box in his house on his cable DVR. It is an amazing piece of technology that allows us to watch the cable system from Washington, WV. As we were experiencing our first Typhoon here we were watching the Tornados that were devastating areas around Parkersburg area. It has been an utter joy for me to watch WVU football games live and know that my friends/family are all watching the game with me. We text and IM during the games which gives me plenty of joy as if I am singing Almost Heaven Country Roads. The challenge is that two of the games have started over here at midnight and 3:30 am due to the time difference.  Some of my smarter friends have suggested that I call them with who wins the games since we are 12 hours ahead.  I am looking forward to this week’s game time of 9pm EST which means we will be having breakfast at 9am on Sunday watching the Mountaineers play LSU.  We will put on our WVU gear, get our Ruffles (another comfort food) and get the party started with Breakfast at LSU. 
So while we are having the time of life so far experiencing the Far East, it is the comfort of home that makes our trip such an adventure. It is the times we talk to our families on Skype, IM or email that makes our trip here so exciting. The fact that we have comfort in our friends and family is what makes our lives rich and our time here the chance of a lifetime. Thank all of you for this comfort.  So during the coming years when we are looking for the answers of why are the cats outside evil looking, or if a hogs heads hits the ground, is there a three second rule, why are some cooked chickens really yellow (I mean real yellow), how many slopes are registered (hill sides), and how to order for a DHL pickup in Chinese, it will the comforts of home, family and friends that make this exciting.

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